Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Buck Buck)

Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

Starring: Megan Fox, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, William Fichtner, Danny Woodburn, Will Arnett, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub, and Whoopi Goldberg

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a staple of my childhood.  Phrases like "Turtle Power!" and "Cowabunga!" are etched in my memory for all time.  That's why I cringed when I learned that Michael Bay was involved in the reboot of the film series.  Though he's not in the director's chair for this one, his attachment to this production alone is enough to send a chill down my spine.  After all, look what he's done to Transformers.  While the first installment was good, everything that's followed has been disappointing at best.  Not surprisingly, I'm not exactly shell-shocked about the new turtles that have come knocking at the box office.

Journalist April O'Neil (Megan Fox) is not exactly living out her dream career. Covering the latest lifestyle trends, her daily work consists of bringing foam and froth to the people of New York City as her cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) puts it.  Against her boss Bernadette Thompson's (Whoopi Goldberg) advice, April begins investigating a heist of rare chemicals typically utilized in genetics research.  Chasing down a lead, she witnesses another attempted heist by a nefarious crime ring known as the Foot Clan.  She also witnesses the thwarting of the clan's attempts by a mysterious vigilante.  Determined to uncover this story, April believes that finding out more about this vigilante is the key to moving her career in a more respectable direction.

April's investigation leads her down a dangerous path, one that takes her back to the days of her own childhood.  Interested in finding out more about this vigilante, she purposefully gets herself embroiled in an ongoing hostage situation with the Foot Clan.  As predicted, the vigilante saves the day.  What April doesn't expect is that her rescuer is not one but four giant teenage mutant ninja turtles named Leonardo (Pete Ploszek and Johnny Knoxville), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), and Donatello (Jeremy Howard).  Recognizing their names, she realizes that the turtles are the specimen her father studied long ago.  April then turns to her father's old research partner Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) for more information on how these turtles could have grown into 6-foot ninjas.  Meanwhile, Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), the head of the Foot Clan is conspiring to carry out a mission that could have deadly consequences for the people of New York.

Bringing a series like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen in a live action movie has always been a difficult proposition.  After all, they're ninja turtles.  Having seen the film, it's safe to say that the Michael Bay-backed director Jonathan Liebesman is ill-equipped for this task.  Trying to replicate Bay's formula from the original Transformers and appeal to moviegoers of all ages, Liebesman gives us a cheesy, silly affair that doesn't properly blend action and comedy.  On top of this, his narrative is disjointed and feels haphazardly concocted.  Developments come out of nowhere quite regularly just to get to the next big action sequence or the next underwhelming punchline.  Clearly, Liebesman's reboot is far from cinematic gold.

The acting in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is sub-par as well.  For her part as our star April O'Neil, Megan Fox does anything but convince us that she cares about her career or the turtles.  Her range is limited, and that's on full display when she's front and center as the film's star.  April’s driving buddy Will Arnett is also quite disappointing as cameraman Vernon Fenwick.  With quite a few duds for jokes, the comedic actor largely fails to deliver the humor for which he was hired.  Also, the five actors portraying and voicing the ninja turtles themselves fail to deliver interesting, worthwhile performances that bring our beloved heroes back to life.  Lastly, Tohoru Masamune and William Fichtner offer anything but compelling villains as Shredder and Eric Sacks respectively.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is by no means a good movie.  It's not exactly awful either.  It's just mediocre.  These heroes in a half shell have no turtle power.  This reboot of the franchise gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few rounds of gin and tonic with this one.